EXETER — After taking some time to reconsider, Doug Timmermans has changed his mind and will be staying with the Exeter Hawks as general manager after all.
Timmermans had last month announced plans to leave the Hawks along with his brother, Dale, who was the team’s head coach. The two had been running the team for the last four years.
Working together, the Timmermans brothers had turned the Exeter Hawks into strong contenders in the SOJHL. Under their direction, the Hawks became league champions in 2015 by defeating the Dorchester Dolphins, and the Hawks became league finalists in 2016, losing to Dorchester by only one game in a best of seven series.
When Dale decided to leave the team, citing a desire to focus more on his own family, it seemed like Doug would follow, as the two had been a team from the start.
“Dale wasn’t coming back, and I had things going on, too. I made a snap decision that I was done,” Doug said. “I was approached by the executive. I took some time, thought it through, we discussed some things moving forward, now I’m back with them,” Doug said.
Both men came to the Hawks after having served as head coach and general manager, respectively, of the North Middlesex Stars, which they also led to an SOJHL championship title in 2009. The Stars also won the OHA cup that same year.
Serving as general manager has been a lot of work for Doug. His decision to stay on with the team was made easier by knowing his burden would be lighter in the upcoming season. Jeff Dalrymple will be shouldering some of the responsibility as the new assistant GM.
“They say running a winning team is like running a losing team for seven years. It’s very intense, takes a lot out of you,” Doug said. “The executive is very solid, far more helpful than my first two seasons here.”
Although Doug has a great deal of management experience, he hasn’t played very much hockey.
He remembers playing local minor hockey in his youth, but doesn’t consider himself to be much of a player.
Running the Hawks without his brother may not be the same, but Doug has confidence in Paul Hopkins, the team’s assistant coach who will be stepping into the role.
“We came into it with our own ideas of what would be successful. It took two seasons to change things. Sometimes you just have to go by attrition to change. By the third season, we were bringing in the kind of players we wanted, playing the hockey we liked,” Doug said. “(Paul) was my first pick as coach.”